Sealing of Criminal Records and Expungement
The existence of a criminal record as a result of a criminal conviction can have far reaching collateral effects on employment, education, civic opportunities and even housing.
An individual seeking to seal a criminal record may petition the court where the charges arose to seal that criminal record. The petition must show “good cause” why the record should be sealed. And the petition must show that your interest in sealing your record outweighs the public interest in having access to that information.
The court will consider the particular disadvantage(s) caused by your criminal record and other factors including:
1. Evidence of rehabilitation; and
2. The amount of time passed since the offense and the conclusion of the criminal case.
If you were found Not Guilty or your case was Dismissed, you may immediately file a Request to Seal.
Upon the filing of your petition along with any other paperwork or documents that you and your lawyer draft, the petition will be reviewed by the judge to determine if you have met the preliminary legal standard for sealing and if so your petition will be posted for 7 days in public at the courthouse. After which a full hearing will be conducted in the court.
In Massachusetts an individual must wait at least 5 years from the last misdemeanor conviction or any jail time served whichever is later and 10 years from the last felony conviction or any jail or prison time served whichever is later, to petition to seal records. If you were convicted of an offense which is no longer a crime e.g., Possession of a Class D Substance; you may seek an immediate petition to seal your criminal record.
Most inquiries to the commissioner of probation should meet with the reply of “No record exists.”
Expungement of your Criminal Record
There is an important distinction between Sealing and Expungement. Expungement is the order for the removal and destruction of the criminal records such that no trace of the criminal record remains. Sealing of the criminal records refers to an order to segregate certain records from court activity to assure confidentiality to the extent noted by statute.
Expungement is a much less likely alternative for the removal of a criminal record. Expungement is typically the remedy in cases of identity fraud or identity theft.
If you are interested in Sealing or Expunging your criminal record call Attorney Mike Murray now at: (508) 393-4162.
Attorney Mike Murray is an experienced, zealous and understanding advocate with over 20 years of Criminal Defense Experience.
Call me now at: (508) 393-4162.